Beer 101 - Mead

Beer 101

Mead, as you probably know, is honey wine, but is generally grouped with beer and cider rather than wine. It is the oldest known alcoholic beverage, with archeological evidence for mead dating back to around 7000 BC, found in China, Crete, and Africa. It was regarded in ancient Greece as the drink of the gods (the term "nectar of the gods" actually refers to mead), and as such, was thought to bring health, virility, and even fertility. Indeed, the reputation of mead even made its way into our own vernacular: the word "honeymoon" hearkens to a time when young couples were given enough mead to last them a lunar cycle, during which time it was hoped that the mead would aid in conception. Sometimes the meadmaker was even paid extra if the couple managed to have a son in a timely fashion! Mead production slid throughout Europe and the world as grapes were discovered to be a more economical and predictable source of alcohol, but mead was still made for royalty and by monks all the way through the middle ages. Mead still holds ties, even in our modern thought, to ancient greece, norse warriors, Beowulf, and the gods; it is, in fact, largely still a mystical beverage. I suppose this is due mostly to the fact that it is still such a rare beverage when compared to beer, wine or liquor.